Ontario Commission suspends betting on UFC fights

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has taken a surprising step to suspend all betting on UFC fights.

On Thursday, AGCO released the following expression on his website:

To protect the betting public, effective immediately, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is requesting all registered casino, lottery and iGaming operators offering sports and events betting in Ontario to refrain from betting on the Ultimate Fighting To offer and accept Championship (UFC) events due to concerns about non-compliance with AGCO’s betting integrity requirements.

The registrar’s standards include rules to protect against odds manipulation, match-fixing and other sports betting integrity issues. In particular, operators must ensure that:

For sporting events wagered on, the event must be effectively overseen by a sports governing body, which must at a minimum prescribe final rules and enforce codes of conduct that include prohibitions on insider betting; and

Integrity safeguards are in place sufficient to mitigate the risk of match-fixing, cheating and other illegal activities that could affect the outcome of bets on events.

Contrary to the Registrar’s Standards, the UFC does not prohibit all insiders from betting on UFC events, which may include an athlete’s coaches, managers, dealers, athletic trainers, medical professionals, or anyone else with access to non-public information.

In recent weeks, AGCO has learned of publicized suspected incidents, including possible betting by UFC insiders, as well as reports of suspicious betting patterns in other jurisdictions.

Therefore, AGCO is now taking this step in the public interest. AGCO has advised operators that once the necessary remedial action has been taken, they can provide information demonstrating that UFC bets or betting products meet the registrar’s standards.

The increased awareness of potential UFC bet-fixing appears to stem from the ongoing investigation into betting irregularities surrounding the UFC Vegas 64 fight between James Krause-trained Darrick Minner and Shayilan Nuerdanbieke.

Krause, who had hosted a Discord channel and a YouTube channel focuses on MMA betting (both appear to have been erased by this time) was at Miner’s Corner for that ill-fated contest.

In the hours leading up to this fight, which took place at the UFC Apex, Nuerdanbieke went from a -220 favorite to a -420. US Integrity, a company that investigates betting irregularities, caught the line movement and notified sportsbook. The organization also noted increased bets on Nuerdanbieke to win by knockout in the first round and that the fight lasts less than 2.5 rounds.

Bets on Nuerdanbieke, a previously clean-lined UFC player, went into the money when Nuerdanbieke capitalized on an apparent pre-existing injury to Minner’s leg to score a KO win just one minute and seven seconds into the first round.

US Integrity isn’t the only organization investigating the fight between Nuerdanbieke and Minner. After UFC Vegas 64, the UFC released a statement that it would also look at betting around the fight.

“Like many professional sports organizations, UFC works with an independent betting integrity service to monitor betting activity at our events,” the UFC statement said. “Our betting integrity partner, Don Best Sports, a leading global provider of real-time betting data for North American sporting events, will conduct a thorough fact-check and report on its findings. At this time, we have no reason to believe that any of the athletes involved in the fight, or anyone associated with their teams, engaged in any unethical or irresponsible conduct.”

Following his UFC Vegas 65 win, Krause-cached Miles Johns told UFC commentator Michael Bisping, “My coach got dragged at the dinner table last night and they said the UFC was going to suspend him so he couldn’t be here in my corner… “

ESPN reported following the fight card that Krause has not been formally suspended by either the UFC or the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC). However, the two organizations decided that the coach should not corner fighters while an open investigation is ongoing.

The UFC released a statement to ESPN after UFC Vegas 65, which read:

“Betting activity surrounding the 5th November bout between Darrick Minner and Shayilan Nuerdanbieke continues to be reviewed by our betting integrity partner, Don Best Sports. At this time, we have no information that any of the athletes involved in the fight, or anyone associated with their teams, engaged in any wrongdoing.”

Prior to this event, the fight between Minner and Nuerdanbieke was a topic of conversation at the monthly NSAC meeting.

Nevada Assistant Attorney General Joel Bekker said during that meeting that an “injury occurred during practice” and that the outcome of that injury before the fight “had all sorts of implications for the betting lines.”

Bekker added: “I think we will also take action against him for not disclosing the injury.”

That’s what the commission is planning address the issue at its next meeting. However, during the November session, the NSAC took action against Ilir Latifi for failing to disclose an illness before his last fight.

in one Precedent Judgment, the commission suspended Latifi for three months for not reporting a staph infection on his pre-fight medical questionnaire. In imposing the penalty on Latifi, the commission noted that the future impact could be more severe.

In mid-October, the UFC updated its code of conduct to prevent fighters from betting on UFC fights. The memo also noted:

“Athletes should also be aware that in most states the same prohibitions apply to some or all (i) relatives living in the same household as an athlete. (ii) an athlete’s coaches, managers, tutors, athletic trainers, medical professionals and employees; and (iii) any other person with access to non-public information about participants in an MMA match.”

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